The Future of Food Is Online

Online delivery and social media are changing the world of food, says Anuraag Nallapati, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of

While recipes used to come from Fannie Farmer's cookbook and food delivery came from your local pizzeria, the future of food looks a little different, says Nallapati. A study from Progressive Grocer found that 53% of Gen-Z members find inspiration for recipes from social media, some coming from celebrities’ favorite meals demonstrated through TikTok videos. The New York Times actually called this the "TikTok Feta Effect," as a viral recipe that included a block of feta cheese baked with tomatoes and garlic caused feta sales to shoot up over 117%. From personal preferences to professional cooking videos from Food Network or the Cooking Channel, social media is the way that young people find their favorite recipes.

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Next, online delivery services, including grocery delivery, are expected to increase in popularity. A McKinsey report found that online grocery delivery is expected to rise by 23% over the next five years. According to Retail Wire, Instacart's ad revenue this year is expected to hit $795 million, showing how profound the shift to delivery platforms has been already.

Nallapati says this could be a problem for grocery stores that rely on in-person shopping. Groceries are a low-profit business in the first place, he adds, as net profit margins hover around 1-3%. Nallapati recommends that grocers cater to the younger crowd's drive to find new recipes through social media and keep track of the various trends around. To do this, grocery retailers need to build out their digital capabilities, including their online advertising.

"This disruption brought into focus what businesses need to do to survive and made the writing on the wall clear: Build digital capabilities or die," Nallapati tells Forbes. "This ultimatum has invigorated the industry, and the pace of change is phenomenal."